Maintenance of fertility in the face of meiotic drive

Meade, L., S. Finnegan, R. Kad, K. Fowler and A. Pomiankowsk,  The American Naturalist,  2019:2019. 2019.

Selfish genetic elements that gain a transmission advantage through the destruction of sperm have grave implications for drive male fertility. In the X-linked SR meiotic drive system of a stalk-eyed fly, we found that drive males have greatly enlarged testes and maintain high fertility despite the destruction of half their sperm, even when challenged with fertilizing large numbers of females. Conversely, we observed reduced allocation of resources to the accessory glands that probably explains the lower mating frequency of SR males. Body size and eyespan were also reduced, which are likely to impair viability and pre-copulatory success. We discuss the potential evolutionary causes of these differences between drive and standard males.